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Orcinol (CAS 504-15-4): A Versatile Important Chemical Compound

what is orcinol (CAS 504-15-4)

Chemical compounds play a fundamental role in various industries, from pharmaceuticals and cosmetics to agriculture and research. One such versatile compound is Orcinol, known by its Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) number 504-15-4. In this blog, we will explore the properties, uses, and significance of Orcinol in different fields.

The Basics:

Orcinol, also known as 5-Methylresorcinol, is a natural organic compound with the molecular formula C7H8O2. It is a colorless to white crystalline solid that can have a slightly sweet odor. Orcinol was first discovered in lichen extracts but is now synthesized for various industrial and research applications.


  1. Solubility: Orcinol is sparingly soluble in water but dissolves readily in common organic solvents like ethanol and ether. This property makes it valuable in various chemical processes.
  2. Reactivity: Orcinol is a versatile compound that can undergo various chemical reactions, including oxidation and condensation reactions. This reactivity allows it to be used in the synthesis of a wide range of compounds.
  3. Melting Point: Orcinol has a relatively low melting point, which makes it suitable for incorporation into various products, such as ointments and creams.


  1. Pharmaceuticals: Orcinol serves as an important intermediate in the synthesis of various pharmaceutical compounds. It is used in the production of drugs, such as anti-infective agents, antituberculosis drugs, and antifungal medications.
  2. Cosmetics and Personal Care: Due to its low melting point and pleasant odor, Orcinol is used in cosmetics and personal care products, particularly in the formulation of creams, lotions, and perfumes.
  3. Agrochemicals: Orcinol is utilized in the synthesis of agrochemicals, such as herbicides and fungicides, contributing to pest and weed control in agriculture.
  4. Chemical Research: Orcinol’s reactivity and versatility make it a valuable reagent in chemical research, aiding in the development of new compounds and materials.
  5. Hair Dye Intermediary: Orcinol is involved in the production of hair dyes, playing a role in the formation of the final color in hair dye formulations.

Environmental Considerations:

While Orcinol itself is not considered highly toxic, its production and use can have environmental implications:

  1. Waste Management: The disposal of waste containing Orcinol or its byproducts must be managed carefully to prevent environmental contamination.
  2. Sustainability: Efforts are being made to develop greener and more sustainable synthesis routes for Orcinol and its derivatives to reduce the environmental footprint of its production.


Orcinol, with its unique properties and versatility, plays a vital role in various industries, ranging from pharmaceuticals to cosmetics and agriculture. Its ability to serve as an intermediate in the synthesis of valuable compounds makes it an essential component of modern chemistry and industry. While the responsible use and disposal of Orcinol are crucial to minimize environmental impact, its importance in various applications underscores its significance in our daily lives.

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